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Yah, we've been hearin' a lot of that from various folks around da country.


No surprise, really. Da curriculum that they worked out with National is OK, but ARC doesn't have da instructors or longer-term experience in deliverin' WFA to be able to pull it off as well.


Pay da extra bucks for a real WFA course from one of da experienced providers like SOLO, WMI, WMA, WMTC, etc.




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In the Northwest, the Seattle Mountaineers and Portland Mazamas climbing clubs developed and sponsor "Mountaineering Oriented First Aid."



This combines a standard first aid course with an emphasis on dealing with mountaineering accidents, including multiple casualties and the kind of paralysis and disorganization that can happen to a climbing group when an accident occurs.



When I took the class thirty years ago, the instructors were delighted when an outdoor night time simulated injury situation was accompanied by a steady rain!











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What I find funny today is that back in the day, my FA MBC made us do FA improvising with stuff we had or we could find. made us really thing and use the knowledge we had. When I reviewed the BSA's WFA book they came out with in 2008 or therabouts ( it was just before CPR went to CAB instead of ABC), with the exception of detailed diagnosing of the injured and the documentation recommended, it was essentially FA MB all over again.


Best FA course and instructor I ever had.

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Since I'm something of a dreamer --


Lots of us have complaints about how First Aid MB is generally watered down at summer camps...so my dream is that rank requirements would be beefed up a little, and that First Aid MB be just a little more rigorous, and that a WFA MB be introduced. Since this is just a dream on my part, First Aid MB wouldn't be Eagle-required, but WFA MB would be, and of course the first requirement would be to earn First Aid MB :-).


Of course, just like how quite a few merit badges now require counselors with certification, the same thing would go for WFA MB.



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For reasons unknown to me. My employer (The State.) Had me take the ASHI wilderness first aid instructor course.

We use ASHI because it's a lot cheaper than the other big guys.

I can and do see how it can be presented in such a way that it would have real meaning and an impact on people taking the course.

Still the course I participated in was tacked on to another course. We never left the nice warm classroom in the Training Academy.

The guy who was the lead instructor, was very passionate and a first class instructor.


Looking at how I presented First Aid to Scouts, it was most of the time set in situations that were outside or in camp type situations.

Every year our District holds a First Aid Competition using scenarios that are based on outdoor, camp or travel situations.

While having Scouts attend Wilderness First Aid courses is never a bad thing. I do think that like a lot of what we do, how we teach it, where we present it and then how we offer opportunities for Scouts to put what they have learned plays a big part in what we are and how Scouts see the skill.



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Well, SP, because it is my dream, the water isn't added. In fact, just the opposite. Concentrated, not diluted.


Of course, everyone would have to play nicely. For example, summer camps would have to do things differently than the way they do them now.


But this is sounding like I disagree with you -- I don't. The last thing we need is to dilute what we have even more. If a WFA MB were added, I wouldn't want it to be handled the way that FA MB is handled right now. I would want it to mean something.



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We're using ECSI instead of ARC, but in Chief Seattle it has a ton of MOFA influence. For the most part, the treatment skills aren't significantly different than standard urban First Aid, but the resource management is (and the patient's stability is one of your resources). Really, the functional skill differences between urban and wilderness First Aid are:


1. Rapid, but effective, discovery and treatment of life-threatening problems. The patient has to survive longer before the medical miracles of a trauma unit or even an ambulance can help them, so the lower the sink on the scale, the worse their chances are. You have limited resources to "fix" the systemic problems.


2. Understanding spinal precautions (the D in ABCDE) because "don't move him" is okay when the EMTs will be there in five minutes, but not when they'll be there Tuesday.


3. Very quickly protecting an injured person from the environment (e.g. hypothermia), the E in ABCDE. Injuries render them more susceptible to environmental problems.


4. Stay/Go, Fast/Slow. What's your plan for getting help? Are you going to call for help, or are you going to self evac, and what's the urgency? Understanding what sorts of injuries call for different responses is important.


5. Long-term wound management. If it's going to be a while before you can or wish to get help, preventing infections is a bigger issue.


6. Scene management. Maybe this should be #1 - you're the guy, you're in charge, you have to make decisions to maximize the help the patient(s) get while minimizing the risk of creating new patients. Pro's won't be on-site to relieve you for a while, so you need to take more than a short-term view of managing the scene.



If your course didn't touch on those, then you should ask for better. But if it hit those points, then it's teaching the right skills.



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The differences between a conventional First Aid Course and Mountaineering Oriented First Aid as done in the Pacific Northwest is huge, as described by JM Hawkins.


For one thing, climbers should EXPECT to be dealing with significant accident situations, if not in their own party then in parties and situations they encounter.


They should EXPECT that when a significant accident occurs, that party organization and leadership might well collapse. New leaders may need to emerge from the group.


They should EXPECT that they may encounter multiple casualties, including people in shock from an injury to someone else.


They should EXPECT that it may be hours, perhaps many hours or even days before outside assistance will be available.


The Mountaineering Oriented First Aid Class I took thirty years ago included a series of practical injury problems done at night, often with multiple casualties.


The Mountaineers Basic Climbing Course required completion of MOFA and also included practice with accident situations. I recall the drama of being lowered thirty feet into a crevasse on Mt Rainier and being expected to use prussik ropes to climb the climbing rope out of the crevasse.


Another such exercise involved lowering a climber into a crevasse and then setting up a pulley system so that the climber in the crevasse could be pulled out by those still on the surface.


During my not especially extensive climbing experience I was involved in two helicopter evacuations, one off the glaciers of Mt Baker and the other off the glaciers of Mt Rainier, both assisting in injuries in other climbing parties.


One of the things that attracted me to climbing is that it's a place where leadership and decision making really count. The leader has the lives of the members of his party in his hands.



Anyway, that's the kind of experience I brought into Scouting when I became an Assistant Scoutmaster and a year later, Scoutmaster for five years.

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I took my WFA via REI that contracted WMI to put it on. At the sametime a fellow Scoutmaster took the ARC course. Both were identical. Must have been the trainer you had.


I did just re-up my First Aid/CPR/AED via ARC. The First Aid totally sucked. A Webelos would be bored. The AED/CPR was good.


It's all about the presenter/trainer.


FYI: WMI is $200 and ARC is $100.

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So - did you not know going in what the material would be?


For those with already advanced skills - any of you ever just challenged the course? NO need to sit thru one if your skills are already there.


For those who want advancement requirements to be more difficult, would you be willing to hold a third party instructor certification?

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